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Apple Corp, this just isnt good enough ....


Ned Kelly

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I paid a premium for my current model TOTL MBP, and I figured the least I could expect was for the (minimal) USB port allocation to be rock solid. I got to the point tonight where one of the ports refused to recognise any of my USB DACs - seriously annoying on a laptop with this kind of sticker. It appears there is a fix but I atill think this is substandard for one of Apple's flagship products.

 

https://www.pntbrother.com/macbook-pro-usb-ports-not-working-reading-solution/

 

Ive had USB issues with various Windows machines - removing the controllers in Device Manager and rebooting seems to do the trick - but none were even remotely in the same league as my Core i7 MBP. Whatever the issue is, Apple needs to put more work into remedying it. I could have had a Win8.1 machine with identical specs for a thousand USD less - I chose a Mac based on previous ownership experiences and I'm not happy.

 

(This isnt a religious debate nor is it an invitation to bash Macs - it may simply be that the people who make the mobos in most laptops couldnt give a hoot about USB audio, but the buck stops with Cupertino IMO)

 

End rant.

Just one more headphone and I know I can kick this nasty little habit !

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I've never considered this to be a big deal. Just be glad there is a fix that doesn't involve reinstalling the OS, editing the Registry or grinding up a bunch of chicken bones during the next full moon.

 

That would be the PC circa 1985 - we've moved on from there. I dont recall a single USB-related issue under Linux - to steal a slogan from you-know-who, it just works.

Just one more headphone and I know I can kick this nasty little habit !

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Have you tried different USB cables? My MBP only worked with my DACs (the MA-1 and the builtin DAC in my preamp) with the Light Harmonic USB cable. It also worked with the MA-1 with a standard USB cable, but not w a couple of other exotic cables. Right now, it's working fine with the Oyaide Continental 5S, which I can recommend sonically, also.

All best,

Jens

 

i5 Macbook Pro running Roon -> Uptone Etherregen -> custom-built Win10 PC serving as endpoint, with separate LPUs for mobo and a filtering digiboard (DIY) -> Audio Note DAC 5ish (a heavily modded 3.1X Bal) -> AN Kit One, heavily modded with silver wiring and Black Gates -> AN E-SPx Alnico on Townshend speaker bars. Vicoustic and GIK treatment.

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Admittedly, I have never had this happen, but between work and home I've only purchased about 25 Apple computers. Besides, resetting the pram or whatever isn't that hard, is it?

 

However, if you really could have purchased a laptop that was just as good for $1K less, you should have.

 

If there is a defect in your laptop, why not make them fix or replace it?

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Agreed, I have the same problem on a MBP Retina 11,3 model. The USB3 can't change gears to USB2 mode in OSX or Windows, easily if at all. Music just stops dead, 20 or 30s after it's played, or just stalls any fs. DSD doesn't even start.

 

This all came about due to m920 DAC not working on this notebook. The DAC works on an older MBP 2010 model with USB2 ports no problems, or any PC with USB2 ports. Over several weeks, Grace Design has worked out a FW change to the DAC, experimental at this stage, for the MBP with USB3 to work on OSX or WIN, however there is something else under the hood that causes complications. The final release is being worked on including DoP for the coax input.

 

If you scour the pro audio pages, there's a few stories of music stopping dead during performances due to this problem, much to the annoyance of the operators to put it mildly. I tried a lot of fixes from Intel to work around these problems, spent far too much time in the process, and all of them failed dismally.

 

This is one (of many) instances where Apple's silence and blissful ignorance to attend to the problem is getting people very much offside and ropable. Have a search on Gearslutz for Hackintosh, there are pages of successful applications of various PC hardware with OSX of all flavours to allow the pros to use just about any sound card, mixer, USB device, whatever, with very good reliability.

 

The 11,3 model appeared late in 2013 and hello the year is just about over. There's still no answer from Apple or Intel, stone dead silence. Poor.

AS Profile Equipment List        Say NO to MQA

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This is what I am afraid of and made me buy a new laptop with both usb 2 and 3 ports for max flexibility. Apple only use usb 3 these days and I do not trust it. I got a windows 8.1 laptop and put in a very power effective SSD from Toshiba altough it is not the fastest. I hope it will work, I have not tried it with my MA-1 dac yet.

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Thanks one and a half - I'll keep digging as my symptoms are exactly as you describe : enjoying music only to have it cut out halfway through a track. For those who dont consider that a big deal, I'd dearly love to come over to their houses and randomly throw a few circuit breakers while they're trying to listen to music or watch a movie - it may be the classic 'first world problem' but it's still as annoying as hell.

Just one more headphone and I know I can kick this nasty little habit !

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USB ports on Windows or Mac was never designed strictly for audio, they were for some peripherals like printers.

 

Please beware of some "exotic" USB cables, or USB input port in some DACs.

 

It's easy to follow any USB issue in a Mac OS: About this Mac -> System Report -> USB

 

I never had issues with Mac USB ports. On some USB cables and DACs, of course.

 

Roch

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Are you using "audiophile" USB cables, or a standard USB cable straight into the DAC?

Have you considered that it may be the DAC and not the Mac?

 

I'll spend more time investigating today, but these are the USB DACs I own -

 

Chord Hugo

Marantz SA-14S1

Oppo BDP-105D

Sony PHA-2

ADL X1

iFi iDSD nano

HRT microStreamer

 

The only 'audiophile' USB cable I have is the Audioquest Cinnamon, but that only fits the DACs with a USB-B connection - in any case, I'll go back and test those DACs with a generic printer cable. All I know is that last night the MBP simply didnt want to know about any of the above - I didnt test the Oppo but had the others handy - and that's bloody annoying.

Just one more headphone and I know I can kick this nasty little habit !

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Are you using "audiophile" USB cables, or a standard USB cable straight into the DAC?

Have you considered that it may be the DAC and not the Mac?

 

Well, it's clearly the interplay between the two. But in the end it amounts to the same. I've heard from others that also couldn't get their macs to recognize a dac. In my case, I had two MPBs, and while both of them would recognize my MA-1 w a standard USB cable, only one of them would recognize the preamp DAC, albeit with lots of pops and clicks when playing music. The Light Harmonic cable was the only cable with which both DACs played music without problems. It was also the best sounding.

 

I now have a Windows server, so I haven't tested my current Oyaide with the MBPs.

All best,

Jens

 

i5 Macbook Pro running Roon -> Uptone Etherregen -> custom-built Win10 PC serving as endpoint, with separate LPUs for mobo and a filtering digiboard (DIY) -> Audio Note DAC 5ish (a heavily modded 3.1X Bal) -> AN Kit One, heavily modded with silver wiring and Black Gates -> AN E-SPx Alnico on Townshend speaker bars. Vicoustic and GIK treatment.

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Thanks one and a half - I'll keep digging as my symptoms are exactly as you describe : enjoying music only to have it cut out halfway through a track. For those who dont consider that a big deal, I'd dearly love to come over to their houses and randomly throw a few circuit breakers while they're trying to listen to music or watch a movie - it may be the classic 'first world problem' but it's still as annoying as hell.

 

I tried various cables, Nordost Blue Heaven, the supplied black lead with the m903 labeled USB 2.0 high speed, a printer cable, all of them behaved the same way.

AS Profile Equipment List        Say NO to MQA

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Using the generic cable into the iDSD nano now - it died on the left side port after a couple of hours but so far is going OK on the port on the other side. I dont recall having these issues with my late 2012 Mini and it appears that I only have USB 3 there -

 

Mac mini (Late 2012): External ports and connectors

 

Will fire up the Mini before I go out tonight, leave it playing through my JRMC library and see if it's still going when I return.

Just one more headphone and I know I can kick this nasty little habit !

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How often is this occurring? Are you able to replicate the issue with any other non-DAC USB 2.0 device? I know it's not the "audiophile way", but have you tried putting a USB 2.0 hub between the MBP and the DAC to see if that at least stabilizes the link? If it can be replicated reliably I'd make a trip to the Genius Bar and at least get a dialogue started. I'd also buy Applecare if you haven't already so they can't put you off in anticipation of your 1y warranty expiring.

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Using the generic cable into the iDSD nano now - it died on the left side port after a couple of hours but so far is going OK on the port on the other side. I dont recall having these issues with my late 2012 Mini and it appears that I only have USB 3 there -

 

Mac mini (Late 2012): External ports and connectors

 

Will fire up the Mini before I go out tonight, leave it playing through my JRMC library and see if it's still going when I return.

 

This sounds more like power than anything else. Does this happen when the iDSD Nano is on battery power or YSB power?

Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

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iDSD Nano had problems with the USB3 ports (the only type) on iMac. But it was fixed by firmware update from iFi. Now it works.

 

There are still some issues. OS X doesn't boot up if I leave Resonessence Labs HERUS connected. It just freezes during the boot. Plugging it later after the machine is booted up works fine.

 

Mytek DAC's USB didn't work and just gave me distorted sound, so I switched over to Apple's Thunderbolt-Firewire adapter with it and now it work beautifully.

 

exaSound e28 has been working fine without any issues so far.

 

 

Workaround for some DACs is to connect the DAC to USB2 hub port of the wired Apple keyboard instead of the USB3 of the computer itself.

Signalyst - Developer of HQPlayer

Pulse & Fidelity - Software Defined Amplifiers

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iDSD Nano had problems with the USB3 ports (the only type) on iMac. But it was fixed by firmware update from iFi. Now it works.

 

There are still some issues. OS X doesn't boot up if I leave Resonessence Labs HERUS connected. It just freezes during the boot. Plugging it later after the machine is booted up works fine.

 

Mytek DAC's USB didn't work and just gave me distorted sound, so I switched over to Apple's Thunderbolt-Firewire adapter with it and now it work beautifully.

 

exaSound e28 has been working fine without any issues so far.

 

 

Workaround for some DACs is to connect the DAC to USB2 hub port of the wired Apple keyboard instead of the USB3 of the computer itself.

 

 

Thanks for that but I have a sneaking suspicion that Paul may be onto something, if not necessarily specific to the iDSD nano. From a purist perspective, I have to question the Apple keyboard workaround, but if it works why not ?

 

OK - this is where I'm at this morning in Thailand:

 

1. The Mini played everything in my JRMC library without issue all night long - iDSD nano via the AQ cable I had previously cursed as the work of Satan :)

 

2. Reset SRAM on MBP and tried to hook up a few of my portable DACs - no luck at all on the LHS but some success on the RHS port.

 

3. Went into Energy settings and changed 'Dim display' from 15 minute default to 'Never' - thought I had done this but clearly not ..

 

4. Plugged in magsafe adapter and - voila - it's recognising my DACs from both ports and happily playing music into the PHA-2 from JRMC. Note that the PHA-2 has separate charging/playback circuits - the laptop isnt recharging it whilst its playing - and the Hugo requires it's own wallwart for charging.

 

Guys, I realise these threads can become tedious - no-one here is being paid to do tech support for Apple - but I thank you all for your suggestions. If this is a case of the 'boy who cried wolf' wearing out his welcome with the other Mac users here, I'll take it one the chin - the Mini's flawless playback has definitely left me with egg on my face re USB3, but I'll push on today and see how it goes with the MBP on battery power into various DACs.

 

Thanks again.

 

Ned

Just one more headphone and I know I can kick this nasty little habit !

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The PHA-2 works without issue on the MBP with the USB3 ports, Windows or OSX, works fine even if the library os on a USB2/3 portable drive.

 

I tried the USB2 hub on the m903, the tracks played longer, but eventually failed to play. No go with DSD.

 

Ideally a Thunderbolt --> USB 2 adapter would be nice. Maybe Ethernet to USB is the way to go. Workarounds to try, which is the easiest? For Apple to wipe sand off the butt and fix the mess.

AS Profile Equipment List        Say NO to MQA

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